HomeBooksFrom Page to Screen: 4 Books We'd Like to See Adapted

From Page to Screen: 4 Books We’d Like to See Adapted

Sharp Objects Premiere
Photo Credit: Anne Marie Fox/HBO

Maybe it started with Game of Thrones. Maybe it started with Big Little Lies. Or maybe you have to go all the way back to Roots or The Stand. No matter where you think the trend starts, it seems like TV is a fertile ground for adaptations of long novels, granting artists more creative freedom to bring faithful re-imaginings of their favorite works to the small screen.

This summer, the trend continues with HBO’s Sharp Objects, and adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s first novel, starring Oscar nominees Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson. Inspired by this addictive Southern gothic series, The Pop Break staff decided to reflect on what adaptations they’d like to see brought to a network (or streaming service) soon.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – Matt Taylor, TV Editor

Reading Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life was a religious experience for me – despite being more than 800 pages in length, the epic novel cast a spell over me, and I read it from cover to cover in less than a week, often pulling all-nighters just so I could spend more time with these characters.

A beautiful look at four male friends over the course of 50 years, A Little Life is cinematic in its writing, but would never work as a film, where runtime constraints would force key story elements to be altered or cut altogether. But, on TV, a talented filmmaker (my dream choice: Tom Ford), and an all start cast (like, say, Rami Malek, Chris Evans, Donald Glover, and Michael B. Jordan) could help bring this story to life in the best form possible.

Adapting A Little Life would, undoubtedly, be a complicated task. The show bounces all around time, beginning with our protagonists in their early 20s, following them through their 50s, and occasionally flashing back to their childhood and teen years. It’s also a most unusual love story, exploring the thin line between sincere friendship and romantic love – only an intelligent director, preferably one who is LGBTQIA+, will be able to capture this romance in a realistic way.

And, perhaps most importantly, it is a very disturbing story that chronicles the ripple effect that child abuse can have on an individual’s life, altering lives in ways that are totally unpredictable. Yanagihara’s brilliant prose, and her intelligently written, timeline-hopping chapters, manage to show readers the negative power of abuse. But onscreen, if handled poorly, these moments could come off as exploitative, if not impossible to watch as a whole.

This is a story that needs to be told sensitively – but, it is also a story that demands to be shared. Seeing A Little Life on the small screen would be a powerful experience, combining the emotional potency of Call Me By Your Name with the addictive melodrama of Big Little Lies. This would be a television event– let’s just hope, when the bestseller is inevitably adapted, it is done with the same care that Yanagihara brought to the page.

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd – Matt Gilbert, Staff Writer

In an era in which civil liberties are disappearing by the day, horrific concentration camps are a part of reality, fear and xenophobia are used as tools to excite the public, and neo-fascists walk openly in the streets, I can think of no parallel more striking and no more pertinent work of literary art to adapt into our golden age of television than Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s V for Vendetta. Nor can I think of any more relevant moment in which to adapt it.

Truly, it boggles my mind how HBO, Starz, or Netflix are not at this very moment chomping at the bit to nail down the adaptation rights to the graphic novel first. Moore’s story of a dystopian near-future Britain ruled under the iron fist of fascistic and authoritarian regime and the loquacious and maniacal terrorist dead set on saving the country by bringing that government to its knees checks as many boxes for its cultural relevance as it does for the franchisable IPs studios all over Hollywood race to build their into own juggernaut series and story universes for the opportunity to be the next Game of Thrones.

V for Vendetta was my favorite movie ever from the first time I saw it to the middle of my college career. I love everything about it, from its dark atmosphere to Hugo Weaving’s incredible performance to the crisp, smooth look of the entire movie. Hell, I even memorized the V speech and the November 5 broadcast monologue just because I could. It is a tale as dark as it is satisfying with its perfect pacing and jaw-dropping montages laid over any of its principal characters’ chilling monologues.

The story of V for Vendetta is as blatant and lacking in subtlety as any of Moore’s most famous works, but it tells a beyond compelling tale in the same vein as 1984 but with the audacity to go one step further by dragging the reader into its horrifying vision of the future by stretching the world across its pages in David Lloyd’s near-iconic illustrations. The graphic novel is a perfect how-to manual not only to adapt it into a long-form TV season or series, but also how to distinguish itself from the well-regarded 2005 film. An updated V for Vendetta could follow closer to the ideas set by Moore with the graphic novel while at the same time modernizing the story to take advantage of the era it would seek to release in.

If for no other reason than unbridled catharsis, we need a V. A rogue agent who stands up to tyranny, who holds the powerful accountable and who does not stop fighting for fairness, justice and freedom and inspires millions to take the future of their republic into their own hands. All this series needs is a great cast (like say, for example, Tom Hiddleston as V, Carey Mulligan as Evey, Peter Capaldi as Sutler, and Ralph Fiennes as Creedy) and it practically writes itself. Under the right leadership I think a 2018-era V for Vendetta could be the most topical and dare I say important series to grace our televisions in a post-Thrones world. All we need is a studio brave enough to do it right, and we would have ourselves an adaptation that shall never, ever be forgot.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon – Rachel Freeman, Comic Book Editor

First published in 2003, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time chronicles the story of Christopher Boon, a 15 year old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. While he is exceptional with math, he struggles with understanding people and emotions which is why he loves animals – they have simple emotions and are easy to understand.

One night, Christopher discovers his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, in the grass, dead, with a fork sticking out of it. It’s an animal, so no one seems to want to dig deeper, however, to Christopher, this is a murder. So he sets out to investigate the dog’s murder, accompanied by his pet rat, Toby.

This novel is incredibly deserving of a mini series adaptation. It’s a unique mystery novel and I have yet to read anything quite like it. Christopher is an amazing character. Despite his limited understanding of the world, he sticks to his decision to find out what really happened to this dog. In doing so, Christopher uncovers unexpected secrets along the way. It’s about more than finding who killed a dog, it’s about Christopher overcoming his fears and learning more about himself and what he is capable of…as well as what people he thought he knew are capable of.

The set-up would be a simple one since it takes place in our modern world, the characters are interesting but all just regular humans, so we don’t need some kind of crazy special effects. I mean, the book has been developed into a play so it can definitely transition on to our TVs. Personally, I think it’d be best as a Netflix original, but I’d be happy just getting to see this book given its well-deserved time to shine anywhere.

Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood & Sweat Socks by Mick Foley – Bill Bodkin, Editor-in-Chief

Shock of shocks, I picked something about wrestling. However, I believe there is a really great series to be made here from Mick Foley’s groundbreaking autobiography.

Groundbreaking you might ask? Yes. Foley broke barriers by catapulting from being “just a wrestler” to a New York Times Bestseller, and inspired countless other wrestlers to pen their own stories.

That aside, Mick Foley’s tale is pretty amazing, and perfect for television. The story of a wrestling-obsessed youth who decides to chase his dream — bloodying himself in death matches in Japan, barely making it in the low-paying, dying territory system, losing his ear in Germany, and destroying his body for the entertainment of wrestling fans — is a pretty awesome story. Foley’s uncanny charm, and humor permeate a story filled with blood, and frustration. There’s even an unlikely love story in the book.

Given the right production company, like Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks (and it makes perfect sense since Johnson and Foley were both rivals and tag partners), this could make a great series on HBO, or streaming platform. Foley really draws you into the fascinating world of wrestling as he bridged the gap of the old, down and dirty territories, with the outlaw nature of Japanese death match culture to the high gloss world of TV wrestling in WWE and WCW. It’d make for a fascinating study of pro wrestling, as well as terrific, and engaging character piece.

Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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